Lots of Visual Charts

April 24, 2007

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This is a neat table of charts. Mouse over an "element" to see an example. Found this on cool tools.


Domain Bot

April 21, 2007

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If you are ever looking to setup a web site and are trying to decide on a name, this site might help: http://www.domainsbot.com/ You put in some words or terms and hit search and it gives you a list of recommendations and shows you if they are available or not. While it's fairly easy to check on specific domains, it can get time consuming quickly. This little bot can at least help get you started.


New Laptop

April 21, 2007

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I was in HSV this past week while my mom was recovering from some minor foot surgery. She had planned to get a new laptop so that she could use it next week to get some work done while still on the couch (she has to keep her foot elevated for another week or so). I placed an order for one for her with Lenovo on April 4. The original note said that it should ship in 1-2 weeks. Then on April 18, I got a note saying that it wouldn't ship till May 5. This didn't do us any good so I cancled the order. Waiting a month to get a computer? Hell by that time it's probably already worth 20% less than when you paid for it. Anyway, we decided to bite the bullet and buy one locally. The first stop was compUsa where I quickly discovered that the only thing on the sales floor of the Windows variety was packed with Vista. My mom was come a long way, but she is still very un-savvy when it comes to computers. She needs XP because that's what she knows. Also, I've never used Vista which means I wouldn't be able to answer questions and frankly, I'm a big fan of waiting till after the first major service patch has been released before moving onto a new Microsoft platform. (Or most other software for that matter.) We went around to Office Depot and Staples too, and the case was the same. No machines on the floor besides the odd "display model" that didn't come with Vista. Luckily, you can still by XP in the box and the fact that we tried a few different places worked out pretty well anyway. We ended up with a $500 Compaq C500 laptop and purchasing a boxed version of Windox XP for ~$160 from staples. I must say I'm pretty impressed with the laptop. I didn't use Vista on it at all, but it runs XP very nicely and is more than adequate for the word documents, email and web surfing that is going to be all my mom does with it. The average price of the laptops at CompUSA was way higher. I think I saw one that was about $700, and a few for around $800, but most were $1,000+. It's odd to think, but going an office store (in this case Staples) was way better than buying at a computer store.


10% off at Lowe's

April 11, 2007

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I'm not sure, but it looks like if you just give Lowe's your name and address on this site they'll send you a coupon for 10% off. http://www.lowesmoving.com/ Neat.


Size

April 08, 2007

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If you want to mess with your mind a little, load up this flash piece from Nikon that puts the size of things in the perspective of orders of magnitude. It takes a while to load. Also beware that it's set to a static screen size so make sure you can see the bottom where the order of magnitude that you can click on to navigate are visible. I think the part that messed with me the most is when it shows the size of a carbon nano tube which turns out to be smaller than DNA. The messages about boundaries in size are interesting, but they keep showing up which is a little annoying, but it's still amazing to try to think about the sizes.


Chic-fil-a at 10:31

April 07, 2007

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If you have never had a Chic-fil-a chicken biscuit for breakfast, you need to try one. When I first heard about them, it didn't really sound that appetizing, but they are amazing. There isn't a Chic-fil-a even remotely near my path to work so the only day I can really get them is on Saturday since they are closed on Sundays. I'm a slow mover on Saturdays but try to make it there from time to time. A key thing to remember is that they stop serving breakfast at 10:30. I got there about 10:20 today which was cutting it close. By the time I got my order and sat down it was right at 10:30. Over the next 10-15 min I saw eight people come in and try to order chicken biscuits only to be told that breakfast was no longer being served. At least two of the people left instead of ordering off the lunch menu. I've seen this happen a few times before and have done it myself. I can't believe that a manager (or the corporation) hasn't noticed that they have willing customers in the store who are walking out without making a purchase because they can't get what they came for. They are loosing money (and ticking people off) by strictly enforcing their arbitrary cutoff time. There have been several times that I would have gone to a Chic-fil-a for breakfast, but I was cutting it too close and wasn't sure if I could get there before they stopped serving. Since I got burned before, I wasn't willing to risk it. Once again, Chic-fil-a doesn't get my money, and I'll bet there are a bunch of people out there that have the same thought process. All it would take is a smart manager to throw 10 or so biscuits on at say 10:25 to get the carry over. They can still say they stop serving at 10:30 but make sure you have some till about 10:45 to provide a graceful transition. When someone rolls up at 10:35, they can say, "Well, we stop serving breakfast at 10:30, but we've got a few more today." That way, they make the sale, the person realizes they were pushing it, but leaves happy more often than pissed. Everybody wins. And if they end up with a couple that don't sell, which I find unlikely on all but the rare occasion, they would still have made up for it in the number of additional sales and overall customer satisfaction.


Monitor help

April 04, 2007

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I'm looking to get a new monitor for my home system. I want a good LCD one that I can use for photo stuff as well as general computer hacking. There are a ton of options out there and it took some digging, but I finally found a link that has some good info about what the hell all the numbers and specs mean. It's on anandtech which is a site I hadn't actully been to in a long time. When I paid more attention to what was going on in the hardware world it was one of my main sources of info and I have a fair amount of trust in the conversations that go on there. If you scroll way down on that link there is a section for "PROSUMER PHOTO EDITING". I'm avoiding the first two recommendations and planning on going with the third. The 20.1": HP LP2065. I like all the specs on the first one (20.1"w: NEC MultiSync 20WMGX2) except for the "OptiClear contrast coating". I've seen monitors with that before and the glare it creates really irritates me. And the second recommendation of the Samsung (SyncMaster 215TW) has a note about input lag. I don't do much gaming, but any noticible input lag also bugs me. I might not notice it, but it's not worth the risk. I'd kinda prefer a widescreen, but I'm going to be setting up my old 17 lcd in a dual monitor setup so that shouldn't really be an issue.


CF bulbs

March 25, 2007

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My local Home Depot currently has a sale running on Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Six for $10. I've been wanting to get some CF bulbs to try out. I had one when they first came out, but it flickered a little and the color was not very pleasing. That was probably eight or nine years ago. They have come a long way since then. The ones I got were marked to indicate that they had a color range similar to a traditional incandescent bulb and this seems to be pretty much the case. It's a little different, but not at all unpleasant. As far as I can tell, they have no discernible flicker and turn on effectively instantly without any perceived warm up being necessary. One drawback is that the ones I got don't work on dimmers which is unfortunate as I've switched most of my overhead lights to be on dimmer switches. But for the floor lamps and the standard switches are all going to get the CF bulbs. If you are not familiar with them, they fit in the same socket as regular bulbs but use something like 1/3 as much energy and should last about 10 times as long. You can read a little about them here. At some point, I'll get some daylight balanced ones too for my office. A lot of photo office have daylight balanced bulbs for looking at prints. With CF bulbs, you can have that in your house now too. Oh yeah, and they don't get nearly as hot. So, if you are reading in bed and reach to put out the light and accidentally hit the bulb you won't burn yourself nearly as bad. (It'll still hurt and if you leave your skin on the bulb, it'll get ya, but it's not AS bad.)


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